Protests erupt again over blocked LG funds

LG reps demand release of honorarium

Our Correspondent May 22, 2024
Labourer's laying down pipes for Gilgit's sewerage and sanitation project. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Neighborhood and village council chairmen from across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) staged a protest outside the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday, demanding the release of funds withheld by the provincial government.

The protestors accused the government of failing to provide the necessary funds to local governments over the past two years, leaving them unable to address the day-to-day issues in their constituencies.

During the demonstration, the protestors blocked Khyber Road to all vehicular traffic, chanting slogans against the government for its delaying tactics. The road closure caused severe traffic jams throughout the city, inconveniencing the general public.

The chairmen highlighted that in the past two years, Nazims had received an honorarium of only Rs40,000, which was insufficient even to cover office rent due to the lack of available funds.

They mentioned a previous strike call when they were invited to the Chief Minister’s House for negotiations, but no practical solutions were implemented.

The local government representatives announced another sit-in outside the Chief Minister’s House on the 29th of this month. They demanded the immediate payment of all dues and blocked funds from the past two years and called for prioritizing the resolution of local body issues.

On Saturday K-P government decided to release funds for the honorarium of the local government representatives and introduce necessary amendments in the Local Government Act.

The K-P government has taken significant steps to address the challenges faced by elected local bodies.

In a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Sardar Ali Amin Gandapur, attended by provincial minister for Local Government, Arshad Ayub Khan, Secretary Local Government, administrative secretaries, and representatives of various councils, crucial decisions were made.

Key issues concerning local bodies were thoroughly discussed, resulting in decisions aimed at immediate action. It was decided to allocate funds for the honorarium and benefits of elected representatives, doubling the honorarium for mayors and tehsil chairmen.

Necessary amendments to the Local Government Act will be introduced to enable the provincial government to provide developmental grants to local bodies.

Furthermore, the chief minister approved a shuhada package for the families of slain elected representatives, similar to that of government employees.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2024.



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